Acne scars make everyone feel self-conscious about their appearance. Even after you clear your skin through diet or medication, acne scars can persist for months or even years.
There are several natural ways to get rid of acne scars which include drinking lots of water, avoiding alcohol, and making sure you eat anti-inflammatory foods. However, these natural remedies take time and many people look for quick solutions to help clear their skin.
Your skin type, the current condition of your skin, and the type of scarring are all separate variables that will determine what the best strategy is to clear your skin. The short answer is your diet and skincare products play the largest role in clearing acne scars.
There are hundreds of soaps, creams, face masks, and medications that all claim to help you get rid of acne scars. To be honest most of them are useless. I know this because I tried most of them. However, there are a few quality facial cleansers that will definitely help clear acne scars. Below I have outlined ten facial cleaners that have significantly helped me and other members of my team reduce our acne scars and keep our skin clear!
Table of Contents
How I Reviewed Each Face Wash
Before we jump to in-depth information about each product, let me explain how I reviewed each of the face washes found in this list.
I based my evaluation on three main criteria: performance, ingredients, and skin type.
Each one of these products has been used by me, someone on the GoodGlow team, or a dedicated product tester. Each one of us used these for at least a month to observe any changes our skin went through after prolonged exposure (and in some cases, as you will see below, even longer than that.)
During this time, we paid attention to any changes or improvements in the appearance of our acne scars in areas such as the cheeks, neck, chest, back, and lower back.
We also monitored my skin for any adverse reactions, such as excessive redness, dryness, tightness, itchiness, or flakiness.
It is worth noting that none of these soaps are necessarily “better” than any of the others. Each soap is better for a particular skin type (sensitive vs. dry) or type of acne scar (ice pick, atrophic, rolling, or boxcar).
Now that you know how we reviewed each product let’s take a closer look at the ten best face washes for acne scars.
Best Face Washes for Acne Scars Summary
|Overall||CLEARSTEM – Vitaminscrub Antioxidant Infused Scrub Cleanser|
|For Dark Spots & Acne Scars||Natura Bissé – Facial Cleansing Gel with AHA|
|On a Budget (for the money)||Q+A – Niacinamide Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser|
|For Atrophic Acne Scars||Dr. Loretta – Gentle Hydrating Cleanser|
|For Boxcar Acne Scars||SkinCeuticals – Glycolic Renewal Cleanser|
|For Rolling Acne Scars||Neostrata – Restore Facial Cleanser|
|For Ice Pick Acne Scars||Medik8 – Gentle Cleanse|
|For Hypertrophic Acne Scars||Dermalogica – Daily Microfoliant®|
|Antibacterial Face Wash||SkinFix – Acne+ 2% BHA + Azelaic Acid + Niacinamie + AHA Cleanser|
|Facial Wash For Acne Scars With Sensitive Skin||Replenix Green Tea Gentle Soothing Cleanser|
|For Acne Scars With Dry Skin||Glytone – Mild Cream Cleanser|
|For Acne Scars With Oily Skin||Neutrogena – Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser with Salicylic Acid|
Best Overall Cleanser For Acne Scars:
CLEARSTEM – Vitamin Scrub Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin
The main active ingredient in the Antioxidant-Infused Scrub Cleanser is vitamin C, which helps to brighten the skin and protect it from environmental damage in addition to evening out the pigmentation of dark spots.
Formulated with vitamin C, green tea, and bamboo particles to gently polish the skin, removes dead skin cells, and unclogs pores
Great for all skin types
Dry & sensitive skin should only use 2x per week to start
Hemp Extract, Vitamin C, and Bamboo
bamboo particles act as a polish to resurface the skin and keep pores clear while allowing Vitamin C to penetrate and brighten
No hormone disruptors, no toxins, cruelty free, gluten free, vegan, and silicon free
- Hemp Extract – Exfoliating is key for acne-prone skin, but it’s very important to use a very gentle exfoliator. The hemp extract in VITAMINSCRUB is rich in skin-nourishing, acne-safe fatty acids that both soothe and hydrate inflamed skin.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which helps reduce skin redness that’s caused by acne breakouts. Vitamin C works to brighten skin complexion and even skin tone.
- Bamboo – The environmentally-friendly bamboo particles in VITAMINSCRUB work to gently slough off dead skin cells and polish the surface of the skin. Bamboo also works to clarify impurities and supports skin oxygenation.
Water/Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Extract or Juice*, Propanediol, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Bambusa Arundinacea (Bamboo) Stem Extract, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium, Cocoyl Glycinate, Cocamide MIPA, Capryloyl/Caproyl Methyl Glucamide, Lauroyl/Myristoyl Methyl, Glucamide, Sclerotium Gum, Arthemis Nobilis or Chamaemelum Nobile*, Ascorbic Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract*, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Capsaicin, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Citric Acid, Chromium Oxide Green, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract*, Hesperidin, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Seed Oil, Jojoba Esters, Lactic Acid, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil*, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, Ormenis Mixta, Chamaemelum Mixtum, or Ormenis Multicaulis*, Panthenol, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate. Certified Organic*
The VITAMINSCRUB Antioxidant-Infused Scrub Cleanser is our top pick for reducing the appearance of acne scars. Clearstem’s Vitamin scrub is a gentle gel cleanser carefully designed to help cleanse and exfoliate the skin without upsetting its delicate balance. It is our top pick for reducing the appearance of acne scars because of its unique combination of antioxidants, skin-soothing ingredients, and natural exfoliants
In addition to reducing the appearance of acne scars and discoloration CLEARSTEM’s Vitaminscrub helps remove dead skin cells and promotes a more even skin tone regardless of skin type.
Other key ingredients include panthenol and green tea extract, which help soothe the skin and relieve irritation caused by inflammatory acne. The scrub’s other key ingredient is bamboo particles, which are responsible for the tiny spheres inside the gel that works on polishing the skin and scrubbing away makeup, dirt, and impurities that might be lingering on the surface after a long day.
This will give an instant resurfacing effect and leave the skin looking and feeling fresh, clean, and supple.
CLEARSTEM’s Vitaminscrub is suitable for all skin types but is particularly beneficial for those with acne and acne scars along with dull skin, uneven skin tone, and rough texture,
I personally use the antioxidant-infused scrub cleanser 2-3 times a week and recommend that to most people for the best results.
At this pace, a single bottle should last around 2-3 months, making it an affordable and effective option for targeted skin concerns.
Clearstem Vitamin Scrub Pros:
- Does not stretch, cut, or tear pores
Clearstem Vitamin Scrub Cons:
- Frequently out of stock
Best for Dark Spots & Acne Scars:
Natura Bissé Facial Cleansing Gel with AHA
Features a unique blend of AHAs made up of glycolic, lactic, malic, and tartaric acid that work to gently exfoliate the surface of the skin, revealing a brighter and more even complexion.
Good Glow Score
Aloe Vera, Antioxidants, Biotin, Caffeine, and Malic Acid
Concentrated with AHA’s, natural fruit acids that gently exfoliate the skin
Blend of Aloe Vera and Vitamin B deliver hydration to the complexion and regulate excess oil production
Clean and Refined Complexion
Oil and other impurities that are able to clog pores are eliminated
Ingredientes: Water (Aqua) , Sodium Laureth Sulfate , Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cocamidopropyl Betaine , Cocamide DEA , Sodium Chloride , Glycolic Acid , Lactic Acid ,Sodium Hydroxide , Citric Acid , Yeast (Faex) Extract , Allantoin , Malic Acid , Tartaric Acid ,Polysorbate 20 , Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer , Sodium Lauryl Sulfate , Octoxynol-9 Magnesium Chloride , Magnesium Nitrate , Niacinamide , Ammonium Glycyrrhizate , Panthenol , Propylene Glycol , Zinc Gluconate , Caffeine , Biotin , Sodium Citrate , Fragrance (Parfum) ,Limonene , Geraniol , Hydroxycitronellal , Linalool , Citronellol , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Methylisothiazolinone , Phenoxyethanol , Yellow 5 (CI 19140) , Red 4 (CI 14700).
Natura Bissé is a skincare brand that many estheticians and beauty therapists love and use in spas. Their products are one of a kind when it comes to providing a luxury skin-revitalizing facial.
Having worked with them for a little while, I’ve tried most of their products; however, I have a few favorites that have been staples in my skincare routine for a few years now.
The Facial Cleansing Gel with AHA being one of them is definitely one of the best face washes for acne scars I’ve ever tried.
The cleanser has a smooth gel consistency that glides across the skin like a dream, lathers nicely, and washes off without too much scrubbing.
It contains a plethora of beneficial ingredients, some of which include brightening and barrier-strengthening niacinamide, anti-inflammatory zinc, soothing aloe vera, nourishing panthenol, and moisturizing propanediol.
I’ve been using this cleanser for about two years now, and it’s one of those cleansers that actually does what it claims – brightens the skin.Simone Sydel, Licensed Esthetician
The Facial Cleansing Gel with AHA will work best for those with normal, combo, oily, and acne-prone skin, as well as those dealing with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, redness, uneven skin tone and texture, dark spots, and atrophic acne scarring.
The ingredients in this cleanser will not only brighten and unify the complexion but will also help exfoliation and collagen production, which is exactly what’s needed to improve the appearance of atrophic scars.
Natura Bissé Facial Cleansing Gel with AHA Pros:
- Brightening and skin-smoothing
- Soothing and non-irritating
- Lasts for a long time
Natura Bissé Facial Cleansing Gel with AHA Cons:
Best on a Budget (for the money):
Q+A – Niacinamide Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser
Features Niacinamide, an antioxidant that can help reduce or completely prevent acne by inhibiting lipids in our sebaceous glands and increasing ceramides which help the skin maintain optimal hydration levels and lead to improved epidermal barrier function.
Good Glow Score
Helps promote a balanced microbiome (good bacteria), and gently exfoliate the skin.
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
Helps combat sebum, calm breakouts and de-clog pores
Natural alternative to microbeads
Breakout-prone, stressed and congested skin types
Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Decyl Glucoside, Coco-Betaine, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Jojoba Esters, Inulin, Glycerin, Levulinic Acid, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Gluconate, Fructose, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate
Q+A is a skincare brand that specializes in making high-quality yet super-affordable products.
The brand became famous after dropping their Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleanser targeted towards dry and dehydrated skin, which I personally loved, but they have since come out with another banger specifically formulated for combo, oily, and acne-prone skin.
The Niacinamide Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser is a gel cleanser that contains jojoba esters, which are super-gentle microbeads that provide mild physical exfoliation without irritating the skin.
Once your skin barrier is strengthened, your skin will have an easier time dealing with issues such as redness and sensitivity, but it will also be more resistant to irritation and inflammatory conditions such as acne and rosacea.
Additionally, a strong skin barrier will also have an easier time dealing with the aftermath of acne, and issues such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation will tend to fade faster than if the skin barrier was compromised. I recommend this cleanser to all readers who are looking for a budget-friendly option.
Lastly, the Niacinamide Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser also contains inulin and fructose, which are ingredients extracted from chicory roots and help balance the skin’s microbiome (the good bacteria living on the skin) by forming a defensive layer that will protect against environmental pollutants and external pathogens.
All in all, the Niacinamide Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser is an excellent option for those dealing with pigmented or discolored acne scarring and are looking for something efficient on a budget.
Q+ A Niacinamide Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser Pros:
- Contains a blend of barrier-strengthening ingredients
- Works best on discolored or pigmented acne scarring
Q+ A Niacinamide Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser Cons:
Best for Atrophic Acne Scars:
Dr. Loretta – Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
Contains ingredients such as peptides that help improve collagen production and skin hydration, as well as chamomile extract that nourishes and soothes redness and repairs irritated skin.
Good Glow Score
Washes everything away from waterproof eye makeup to tiny pollution particles and other irritants
Detoxify and Hydrate
Features with detoxifying hydrolyzed algin and hydrates with marine peptides
Suits all skin types
Ingredient Call Outs
Water (Aqua), Sodium Cocoyl Wheat Amino Acids, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Ahnfeltiopsis Concinna (Red Algae) Extract, Hydrolyzed Algin, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Oil, Phenoxyethanol.
MARINE PEPTIDES – boosts hydration
HYDROLYZED ALGIN – absorbs pollution particles
CHAMOMILE & GINGER – soothes irritation
Atrophic acne scars are a type of scarring that appears in the form of indentations or depressions in the skin.
They are often caused by severe acne that has led to a loss of collagen, either due to the severity of the inflammation itself or by self-harming, such as picking and scratching the inflamed areas.
Finding a face wash or any skincare product that will help get rid of them can be very tricky since they respond best to professional treatments such as dermal fillers, lasers, or microneedling.
However, their appearance can definitely be improved with the right skincare, and this includes using a good facial wash.
Removing all potential irritants from your skincare regimen is extremely important when improving and getting rid of atrophic scarring. Once the inflammation is gone, the skin can repair itself and fill out the indentations through collagen production.
Additionally, the Gentle Hydrating Cleanser has a milky, non-foaming formula that repairs the skin instead of stripping its natural moisture barrier and leading to more irritation.
It’s an excellent morning or evening cleanser for all skin types, and it can be used even by extremely sensitive and reactive skin as well as those prone to inflammatory conditions such as rosacea.
Dr. Loretta Gentle Hydrating Cleanser Pros:
- Non-foaming consistency
- Gentle and non-irritating formula
- Helps repair the skin barrier by hydrating the skin and keeping it nourished
Dr. Loretta Gentle Hydrating Cleanser Cons:
- Some users have expressed dissatisfaction with the non-foaming consistency of the cleanser
Best for Boxcar Acne Scars:
SkinCeuticals – Glycolic Renewal Cleanser
The Glycolic Renewal Cleanser is a fantastic option for those dealing with boxcar scars as it contains a high concentration of glycolic acid, which is an AHA that’s known for its ability to brighten the complexion, and help the dead skin cells shed from the skin’s surface faster.
Good Glow Score
Exfoliates with a dual-acid blend while effectively cleansing impurities and long-wear makeup without stripping the skin of moisture.
Contains 8% glycolic free acid value, brightening phytic acid, refreshing aloe barbadensis leaf extract, and hydrating glycerin
Features a free acid value of 8% glycolic acid to promote cellular turnover
Non-comedogenic, paraben-, synthetic-fragrance-, dye-, alcohol-, and soap-free
Aqua / Water / Eau, Glycolic Acid, Coco-Glucoside, Propylene Glycol, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Glycerin, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Hydroxide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phytic Acid, Sodium Chloride Phenoxyethanol, Dipropylene Glycol, Coconut Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Boswellia Serrata Gum, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Citral, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol
The Glycolic Renewal Cleanser by SkinCeuticals is an exfoliating cleanser that contains a blend of glycolic and salicylic acids to help brighten the complexion, improve clarity, and smooth the skin’s surface.
The cleanser has a unique texture and comes out of the tube in a very concentrated gel form that feels delicate, smooth, and non-sticky.
It also has a faint fresh scent that doesn’t linger for a long time, but it adds to the overall experience.
When in contact with water, the formula will turn into a luxury foam that’s not too thick or foamy. Instead, it’s a soapy, lightweight texture that feels refreshing on the skin and cleanses off with ease.
Additionally, the cleanser contains glycerin, which is a humectant that helps attract moisture to the skin and keeps it hydrated, as well as soothing aloe vera leaf juice extract that helps subside redness and irritation.
This action will provoke newer cells to emerge from the deeper layers of the skin and fill out some of the indentations left from severe acne.
Glycolic acid can help synthesize collagen, which will further help improve the appearance of boxcar acne scars on the skin’s surface.
Lastly, glycolic acid is an excellent ingredient for pigmented scarring that can help improve post-inflammatory discoloration and hyperpigmentation.
SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser Pros:
- Free from drying and irritating components such as fragrance and alcohol
- Suitable for all skin types
- Improves hyperpigmented and boxcar acne scars
SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser Cons:
- Some might find it expensive
Best for Rolling Acne Scars:
Neostrata – Restore Facial Cleanser
Formulated with 4% gluconolactone, a PHA (polyhydroxy acid), which is the gentlest exfoliating acid compared to AHAs and BHA with the ability to exfoliate the pores and clear out the gunk that’s causing an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast such as Malassezia.
Good Glow Score
Gentle and Effective
Soap-free face wash that delicately cleanses and exfoliates without drying or stripping the skin
Sensitive skin, or after procedures such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels
Formulated with 4% Gluconolactone, a Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) that helps to strengthen skin’s protective barrier and reduce redness
s a natural humectant, it will promote well-hydrated skin
Aqua/Water/Eau, Gluconolactone, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Triethanolamine, Polyquaternium-10, PropyleneGlycol, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Glycine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Laureth-13 Carboxylate, PEG-150 Distearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.
The Restore Facial Cleanser by Neostrata is a soap-free, non-foaming cleanser that’s extremely gentle on the skin and works to improve concerns such as post-inflammatory discoloration, texture, and uneven skin tone.
I love using Restore as a morning cleanser because it’s so gentle and won’t strip the skin barrier of its natural protection known as the acid mantle. Additionally, it always leaves my skin feeling fresh, clean, and ready for the next step in my morning skincare routine.Stephanie Nera, Licensed Pharmacist
Now for the best part – acne scarring. This cleanser works particularly well on hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory redness; however, due to the collagen-building potential of PHA, it’s also an excellent option for those who are dealing with uneven skin texture, such as indentations in the skin known as rolling acne scars.
Neostrata Restore Facial Cleanser Pros:
- It contains PHA that improves discolored and atrophic acne scarring
- Gentle and suitable for dry and sensitive skin
Neostrata Restore Facial Cleanser Cons:
- It’s a non-foaming cleanser, so it might leave residue behind if not washed off properly
Best for Ice Pick Acne Scars:
Medik8 – Gentle Cleanse
To improve the appearance of ice pick scarring, this cleanser is gentle enough and won’t irritate the skin so that the skin can focus on healing and repairing instead of dealing with active inflammation.
Good Glow Score
Natural glycerin works to hydrate the upper layers of the skin, providing a nourishing after-feel.
Rosemary leaf oil soothes the skin, leaving the complexion feeling comforted.
Foam leaves the complexion feeling refreshed, hydrated and soft to the touch.
Gentle yet Effective
The mild formula works to gently lift impurities and dirt from the skin to be rinsed away with ease.
Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Coco-Glucoside, Decyl Glucoside, Yucca Vera Leaf/Root Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin.
Ice pick scarring is a type of atrophic scarring that’s notorious for being difficult to treat.
This is because ice pick scarring, although looking like an enlarged pore, actually goes much deeper into the skin than both boxcar and rolling acne scars.
And although this type of scarring responds best to professional treatments such as micro-needling and laser therapy, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved with skincare products.
This is why I picked Medik8 Gentle Cleanse as the best face wash for ice pick scarring, as it has a soothing and instantly calming effect on the skin.
The Gentle Cleanse is carefully made out of mild cleansing agents that gently dissolve impurities on the skin as well as glycerin to help the skin bind onto and hold moisture and rosemary leaf oil that instantly soothes the skin leaving the complexion looking fresh, clean, and comforted.
The Gentle Cleanse has a light foamy consistency that dissolves with ease and doesn’t need a lot of scrubbing and friction to be removed.
I also love how refreshing this cleanser feels and how it leaves my skin feeling comfortable as opposed to some drying foam cleansers that tend to leave my skin feeling stretched and dried out.
It’s also an excellent daily cleanser if you want to give cleansers with active ingredients a break.
The Gentle Cleanse is also suitable for sensitive skin and those dealing with rosacea and dermatitis.
Medik8 Gentle Cleanse Pros:
- Hydrating and nourishing
- Suitable for sensitive and reactive skin
- Foamy consistency that washes off easily
Medik8 Gentle Cleanse Cons:
Best for Hypertrophic Acne Scars:
Dermalogica – Daily Microfoliant®
Hypertrophic acne scars need physical exfoliation to improve their appearance. When mixed with water, the cleanser turns into a creamy paste that gently sloughs away dead skin cells, revealing fresher and smoother skin underneath.
Good Glow Score
Exfoliates skin while visibly brightening, smoothing texture, and clearing clogged pores.
Normal, Combination, and Oily
Pores, Uneven Texture, and Acne and Blemishes
Free of parabens, vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and comes in recyclable packaging.
Microcrystalline Cellulose, Magnesium Oxide, Sodium CocoylIsethionate, Colloidal Oatmeal, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, Sodium LauroylGlutamate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Hydrogenated Coconut Acid, Allantoin, Papain, Salicylic Acid, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Camellia SinensisLeaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, PCA, PopulusTremuloidesBark Extract, Cyclodextrin, Sodium Isethionate, Lauryl Methacrylate/Glycol
-Papain Enzymes and Salicylic Acid: Draw out excess oil, clear clogged pores, and smooth the look of skin.
-Rice Bran-Derived Phytic Acid: Gently exfoliates to visibly brighten and balance uneven skin tone.
-Colloidal Oatmeal: Calms skin, reducing the appearance of redness and irritation.
Hypertrophic acne scars are raised, thickened scars that can result from both inflamed and non-inflamed acne lesions.
These types of scars are notoriously difficult to treat as they don’t respond well to topical treatments such as serums and creams.
The Daily Microfoliant® is a rice-based powder cleanser designed to be used as the first step in your skincare routine (or after makeup removal.)
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant® has been a part of my routine for quite some time now, and I love using this cleanser because it’s gentle and doesn’t irritate my skin. Also, as someone whose skin is extremely prone to blackheads, whiteheads, and uneven skin texture, I have never tried anything that clears these up as fast as this cleanser.Ashley Wilson, Certified Personal Trainer
The cleanser contains papain and salicylic acid to help with the removal of dead skin cells as well as prevent future breakouts.
Additionally, soothing and antioxidant colloidal oatmeal, green tea extract, and tea tree leaf oil instantly calm the skin and prevent irritation, that’s a common issue with harsher scrubs.
Lastly, licorice root extract delivers an instant brightening effect and a unified complexion.
However, one thing to note about this cleanser is that no matter how gentle it is, it’s still a physical exfoliant, and using it daily can lead to over-exfoliation, especially if your skin barrier is already compromised.
Therefore, it’s best to use it 2-3 times a week instead, as this will give you better results minus potential irritation.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant® Pros:
- Gentle physical exfoliant that’s suitable for sensitive skin
- Helps decrease the appearance of blackheads, whiteheads, and uneven texture
- Helps smooth out hypertrophic scarring
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant® Cons:
- Not suitable for active acne
Best Antibacterial Face Wash For Acne Scars:
SkinFix – Acne+ 2% BHA + Azelaic Acid + Niacinamie + AHA Cleanser
Gel cleanser packed with active ingredients that have antibacterial properties and work to destroy the overgrowth of bacteria that’s causing acne breakouts.
Good Glow Score
Supports healthy skin pH levels for a balanced surface microbiome.
Vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and comes in recyclable packaging.
Pores, Acne and Blemishes, and Oiliness
Normal, Combination, and Oily
Salicylic Acid 2%, Aqua (Water, Eau), Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Stearyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Glycolic Acid, Bentonite, Niacinamide, Sodium Hydroxide, Azelaic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Glycerin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polydextrose, Dextrin, Amylopectin, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate.
-Salicylic Acid (BHA) 2%: Decongests pores, mopping up excess oil and surface debris.
-Niacinamide 2%: Visibly minimizes pores and prevents sebum buildup.
-Azelaic Acid 1%: Fights bacteria and diminishes the appearance of post-acne scars.
This is a multi-resurfacing, deep pore cleanser with a thick gel consistency that lathers nicely and turns into a rich foam when in contact with water.
Having tried this product, I have to say that you will instantly feel the actives working on your skin.
This cleanser definitely packs a punch and tingles when applied to the skin, so you must be very careful when using it.
First of all, a little goes a long way, and as long as you lather it before applying it on your skin, even a chickpea size of product will be enough for the entire face, neck, and chest areas.
You can then use it as a cleanser and wash it off after a few seconds, or use it as a mask and leave it on the skin for longer but less frequently.
If used as a cleanser, you’d still want to use the SkinFix cleanser sparingly because the active ingredients are strong and can easily lead to over-exfoliation and irritation.
That said, this cleanser contains a combination of salicylic, glycolic, and azelaic acid alongside niacinamide and bentonite clay.
All these actives will work to balance out oil production on the skin and deliver a potent antibacterial effect deep into the pores to destroy the overgrowth of bacteria causing acne.
Additionally, glycolic and azelaic acid, as well as niacinamide, are potent melanin inhibitors, meaning the cleanser can also help improve post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and redness left on the skin after acne has healed.
So, it’s a good option for someone who has oily and acne-prone skin but also deals with discoloration and pigmented scarring left from old acne.
The SkinFix cleanser also contains a few soothing and antioxidant ingredients, including green tea extract and vitamin E; however, you should still watch out for signs of dryness when using it.
Lastly, I also love using this cleanser on other areas where I tend to break out, such as my back and chest, and it always works wonders on a new dark spot left from a breakout.
SkinFix Acne+ 2% BHA + Azelaic Acid + Niacinamide + AHA Cleanser Pros:
- Strong and effective
- It can be used on body acne
- A little goes a long way
SkinFix Acne+ 2% BHA + Azelaic Acid + Niacinamide + AHA Cleanser Cons:
- Not suitable for ultra-sensitive skin
- It can sting if overused
Best for Acne Scars With Sensitive Skin:
Replenix Green Tea Gentle Soothing Cleanser
Formulated with calming and antioxidant ingredients such as green tea polyphenols, white tea extract, and chamomile extract that help soothe and nourish the skin while leaving it cleansed, fresh, and comfortable.
Good Glow Score
Green Tea Polyphenol Technology and medical-grade Vitamins A, C, E, work together to help minimize free-radical damage.
Medical-grade, stabilized, and highly potent CoQ10 helps fight against free radicals and minimize the visible signs of aging.
Ideal for highly sensitive and post-procedural skin
Paraben Free, Gluten Free, Cruelty Free, Oil Free and Fragrance Free
Purified Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Polyquatenium-7, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Polyphenols, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Caffeine, Panthenol, Soy Isoflavones, Chamomile Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, PEG-150 Distearate, Phospholipids, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), Phenoxyethanol, Caramel, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA.
The cleanser has a creamy gel consistency that quickly turns into a rich, non-foamy lather when in contact with water.
It’s also free of fragrance and drying alcohols, making it an excellent option for those dealing with ultra-sensitive skin or a compromised skin barrier.
Additionally, the Green Tea Gentle Soothing Cleanser contains a brightening complex known as ubiquinone that acts as a barrier-repairing antioxidant and a brightening agent to help even out discoloration and unify the complexion.
Replenix Green Tea Gentle Soothing Cleanser Pros:
- Provides an ultra-calming and nourishing effect on the skin
- Suitable for extremely sensitive skin and compromised skin barrier
- Has an anti-aging and skin-brightening effect
Replenix Green Tea Gentle Soothing Cleanser Cons:
Glytone Mild Cream Cleanser is an excellent option for those dealing with dry, damaged, and compromised skin.
The cleanser has a milky, non-lather consistency that thoroughly cleanses the skin, removing makeup and impurities accumulated on the skin after a long day out.
What I like about this cleanser is how gentle and efficient it is. As an esthetician, I have to admit that sometimes I struggle to find a daily cleanser that contains strong actives but is gentle enough not to dry out and irritate the skin at the same time.
And this cleanser covers that!
The Mild Cream Cleanser is suitable for daily use, even though it contains glycolic acid, and can even be used by mature, compromised skin without any issue.
The only drawback I found was that, due to its non-foamy consistency, it could leave a residue behind, so you have to make sure to rinse it off thoroughly before continuing with the next step in your skincare regimen.
Glytone Mild Cream Cleanser Pros:
- Extremely gentle and suitable for sensitive and compromised skin
- High-strength glycolic acid to improve scarring and the overall complexion
Glytone Mild Cream Cleanser Cons:
- It doesn’t lather and can leave a residue behind if not washed off properly
Best for Acne Scars With Oily Skin:
Neutrogena – Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser with Salicylic Acid
In this daily acne face wash, the active ingredient salicylic acid is combined with other ingredients to clean deep into pores for clearer skin and prevent acne breakouts. MicroClear Technology, which has been clinically proven, helps clear up breakouts and blackheads while preventing future ones.
This daily acne face wash also rinses clean without over drying or irritating the skin to help unclog pores and treat acne even before it emerges
Oil-Free & Non-Comedogenic
Features a clinically proven MicroClear technology to help boost delivery of salicylic acid, an acne medication to help clear up acne, pimples and blackheads
MicroClear Technology contains only the essential ingredients you need with no added fragrances
Oily & Acne Prone
Active ingredient Salicylic Acid 2% Purpose Acne Treatment Inactive ingredients Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Chloride, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Benzalkonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, C12-15 Alkyl Lactate, Fragrance, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Propylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Yellow 5, Red 40
Following the removal of your cosmetics, wash your face to remove dirt and oil that has accumulated over time. Next, use Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash to thoroughly cleanse your face of residue and oil accumulated over time.
A foaming wash like Cetaphil PRO DermaControl Oil Remover would also be an excellent cleanser for daily use, as it’s gentle on the skin and doesn’t over-dry. Again, remove all of your makeup before using this product. Finally, saturate your skin with your favorite lotion to keep it hydrated.
- Daily use
- It won’t clog pores
- Over-drying may occur
Features to Consider for Face Wash for Acne Scars
The pH of the Face Wash
One thing to check is the pH of the face wash. A high pH can cause your skin to become dry and flaky, making acne scars worse.
You want to aim for a face wash that has a pH of around five. pH levels have a huge impact on the health of your skin and should not be taken lightly. You can find out the pH of your face wash by checking the label.
If you are unsure about what kind of face wash to buy, I recommend talking with a dermatologist or esthetician to help you find one that will work best for your skin type and the severity of acne scars.
If it Contains Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide has a high concentration of Benzoyl peroxide to help prevent the formation of new acne and reduce redness from already existing lesions.
It also helps reduce wrinkles because it exfoliates your skin and kills bacteria that cause breakouts.
This will be great for those who have mild or moderate acne scarring issues because you can apply this daily on problem areas without irritating your skin too much. However, it can be drying, so it is best to apply this at night rather than in the morning.
If it Features Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is the most effective ingredient in skincare products for treating acne scars. It works by exfoliating and removing dead skin cells to make room for new, healthy ones.
However, you should also look for products that include other natural ingredients such as green tea extract, ginseng, and konjac root.
This is very important because repairing damaged skin is a process that takes time. To add to this, keeping your skin clean and hydrated will also help in the healing process. Plus, you can use face washes that contain salicylic acid to prevent new breakouts.
If It Contains Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is ideal for exfoliating purposes. If you are dealing with lots of dead skin salicylic acid can help remove the dead cells without inflaming the pores. It’s great for people with excessive sebum production. If you have very sensitive skin you should exercise caution with salicylic acid. Although it does remove dead skin cells salicylic acid can cause dryness and irritation if used too frequently. If you are considering using a skincare product with salicylic acid start by using it every other day for two weeks in order to make sure your skin can handle it.
Now that you have read this blog post, you know that face wash is essential for maintaining the health of your skin. However, combining these facial cleansers with a healthy low sugar diet is the best way to keep your skin healthy and clear long term.
Facial washes differ significantly based on the chemicals, preservatives, and natural ingredients fused in the manufacturing process. Generally, soaps with more preservatives will have a longer shelf life, whereas soaps made of completely natural ingredients will deteriorate faster.
Remember that you should always use a gentle cleanser when washing your face, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you have any questions, contact your dermatologist for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Acne scars are not permanent. They will fade with time and patience, but it is possible to speed up the process by using a face wash for acne scars that contain glycolic acid or vitamin C.
No, they are not dead skin. Instead, they are fresh scars on the skin left behind after acne has healed and new skin cells have grown over them.
This is likely due to poor skincare and a lack of knowledge on properly taking care of your skin during acne flares. Popping pimples can also cause scars, so avoid this as much as possible.
Balanced skin with a healthy pH is less likely to be irritated and inflamed and experience the consequences of the irritation that comes with an unhealthy pH.
As such, it is important to use skincare products designed to help rebalance the skin’s pH, as this will speed up the healing process of acne scars.
Natural oils can be beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin, as they can nourish and soften the skin, strengthen the skin barrier, and aid in healing.
And while natural oils don’t have any melanin-inhibiting properties, they can still heal the skin and soothe inflammation, making the reactive cells responsible for uneven melanin production less triggered and likely to produce pigmentation in excess.
Hormonal acne can cause scarring because it tends to be deeper and more inflamed and stays on the skin for longer than a regular pustule because the issue is internal, and balancing it out usually takes more time.
Therefore, taking extra measures when dealing with this type of acne, such as using products that will help minimize the damage externally while also addressing the internal issues, is essential.
Acne vs. Acne Scars
Acne vulgaris is an inflammatory condition, while acne scars result from this inflammation that appears on the skin after acne has healed.
Acne forms when bacteria overgrows inside the pores, triggering the immune system, which then responds with an inflammatory reaction, signaling other cells to come to the site and help fight off the acne-causing bacteria.
This then causes redness, swelling, pain, and sometimes pus to form. The more severe the inflammation and the longer it lasts will typically determine how big or small the pimple will be, with pustules being the least likely to scar and cystic acne being the most likely to leave behind discoloration or indentations in the skin.
Acne scars, on the other hand, appear after the inflammation has subsided. Depending on the severity of the pimple and the skin’s ability to heal, the result can look like a dark, brown, or red spot or can be indented or atrophic.
A discolored, dark, or red spot is the result of excess melanin production, which also occurs as a result of inflammation, as the cells that produce this brown pigment are also sensitive to this trigger.
On the other hand, an indented or atrophic scar occurs as a result of severe inflammation that has occurred deep into the skin and has damaged the collagen amount in the area, pulling the skin down as an anchor and not allowing it to bounce back and even out with the surrounding tissue.
What Causes Acne Scars to Stay vs. Fade?
Discolored acne scars can fade on their own, depending on the skin’s ability to heal or the help given to it in the form of components found in skincare products that can inhibit the responsible factors for their formation.
However, neglecting the skin or using the wrong cosmetic products that perpetuate inflammation and slow healing will likely cause acne scars to stick around longer than expected.
Can Acne Scars Be Permanent?
Indented or atrophic acne scars are a permanent type of scarring that can be improved over time and with the right products but cannot be eliminated unless professional treatments are involved.
However, besides atrophic, discolored or hyperpigmented acne scars can also be permanent, which usually occurs when the inflammation has been severe, prolonged, and neglected at the same time.
In order to prevent this from happening, it’s important to give the skin proper care and use the right tools to soothe and protect the skin and encourage it to heal.
What is The Best Long-Term Strategy to Prevent Acne Scars?
The best thing that you can do to prevent acne scars is to prevent acne. However, since acne is a far more complex condition than it looks like, preventing it entirely, especially if you don’t know the root cause of your acne, is a challenging endeavor.
Therefore, the next best thing to do is to make sure that even if a pimple does turn up eventually, proper care is taken to soothe and protect the skin, helping it heal without a trace of a discolored or indented acne scar.
Here are some of the best ways to prevent acne scars long-term:
Treat Pimples Immediately
Treating pimples as soon as they appear on the skin is crucial in lowering the risk of scarring. As mentioned above, the more severe the inflammation is and the longer it lasts, the chance of acne scarring increases.
Now, if you don’t have a product that contains alpha-hydroxy acids or beta-hydroxy acids that would help soothe a pimple quickly, you can try to use tea tree oil, as this also has anti-inflammatory effects and can flatten a spot in some cases.
On the other hand, you can also try applying ice on the pimple, as this will constrict the blood vessels that enlarge a spot and reduce the swelling and redness surrounding it.
Treating both active pimples and acne scars can be challenging; however, this doesn’t mean you have to introduce harsh and aggressive treatments just because of their strength.
More often than not, those who aggressively use active ingredients in skincare products will end up perpetuating inflammation, thus prolonging their healing process and preventing the skin from bouncing back faster and smoother.
Therefore, while active ingredients like exfoliating acids and benzoyl peroxide can help, it’s important to find a balance in their use and get the best of both worlds, which is treating active inflammation and preventing its recurrence.
Sun exposure can worsen acne scars by triggering the melanocytes to produce the brown pigment melanin, which acts as a protective layer on the skin that prevents further damage.
This is why wearing a gentle mineral sunscreen that will create a barrier between the damaging UV rays, and the skin daily is important, as this will prevent the discolored areas from becoming even darker and more challenging to get rid of.
Don’t Pop Your Pimples
Finally, one of the best ways to ensure you’re not contributing to the formation of acne scars is not to pop, scratch, or pick at your pimples.
Picking and extracting pimples from the skin will only disrupt the healing process by pushing the cellular debris deeper into the skin, increasing the severity of the inflammation and prolonging its persistence on the skin.
Additionally, even if you manage to pop a pimple and squeeze out the infected debris, the tip of the skin is now ruptured and can become infected by foreign pathogens and bacteria at any point, increasing the risk of scarring.
How Often Should I Wash My Face to Reduce Breakouts and Scarring?
When using facial cleansers that contain active ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acid (or lipo hydroxy acid) to help reduce breakouts and fade scarring, it’s best to do so once a day, in the evening so that the ingredients are given time to work during the night when the skin is regenerating and repairing itself.
More often than not, using these active ingredients twice a day can be too drying for most skin types, leaving your skin feeling tight and uncomfortable and causing more inflammation.
On the other hand, while using active ingredients once a day is a good frequency, it’s important to note that this might not work for everyone.
Those with sensitive and reactive skin might benefit from washing their face with products that contain active ingredients only a few times a week.
Finally, including a gentle, non-active cleanser in your morning routine might be a great idea to mitigate the overly-drying effects of the nighttime wash and rehydrate and balance out the skin while keeping breakouts at bay and helping acne scars fade quicker.
What Other Skincare Products Should I Use to Treat Acne Scars?
While acne scars can be challenging to treat, and this process usually lasts long, some products can make the journey easier and help speed up the healing process.
Here are a few skincare products you need to have in your skincare routine to help fade stubborn acne scars:
While makeup removers won’t directly help fade acne scars, removing your makeup before going to bed will help improve your skin and prevent future breakouts and scarring.
Therefore, makeup removers are an important part of the skincare routine of anyone with oily and acne-prone skin that’s already prone to clogging and inflammation as they will remove the heavy ingredients often found in makeup from the skin and prevent them from becoming stuck inside the pores.
Retinol or any vitamin A derivative is an excellent addition to the skincare routine of those with acne and acne scarring.
Once applied to the skin, retinol will bind to retinoid receptors in the deeper layers of the epidermis and influence the cells to behave healthier, making the skin look healthier, refined, and more even-toned.
Additionally, by encouraging the shedding of dead skin cells, retinol will purge the clogs accumulated inside the pores, helping reduce acne and preventing acne scars from forming.
Having a good non-comedogenic moisturizer can help improve acne scarring by strengthening the skin barrier and preventing conditions that can occur if a pathogenic factor infiltrates the skin through a compromised barrier and causes inflammation.
A strong skin barrier can fight off bacteria better and keep the skin hydrated, which will prevent breakouts from occurring and help existing scars heal quicker because when the skin doesn’t have to work extra hard to protect itself, it can regenerate easier.
A weekly treatment that involves using a face mask containing active ingredients such as exfoliating acids is another excellent option to fade existing acne scars, as these components can help slough off the uneven dead skin cells from the skin’s surface and make way for healthier, and more even skin to come out.
Face masks are also great for providing the skin with hydration, which is especially beneficial if you are dealing with dry skin due to using other active ingredients in your skincare routine.
Ingredients in Skincare Products to Avoid When Dealing With Acne Scars
When dealing with acne scars, avoid using ingredients that can slow down the healing process and cause clogging and inflammation in the skin, leading to more acne and scarring.
Here are a few ingredients to watch out for:
- Fragrance – Synthetic fragrances are harsh on the skin and can trigger allergic reactions, irritation, and inflammation.
- Alcohol Denat – This type of alcohol is harsh and drying for the skin, which can lead to a compromised skin barrier and inflammation.
- Stearates – These filler ingredients in skincare and makeup products can clog the pores and lead to breakouts and scars.
- Oils – Some heavy oils in cosmetic products are comedogenic and can cause acne.
- Silicones – While usually not problematic, they can sometimes clog the pores and cause breakouts.
Best Skincare Ingredients for Acne Scars
On the other hand, here are some of the best ingredients to look for in your skincare products if your skin goals include fading acne scars:
- Vitamin A – Increases cellular turnover, helps fade hyperpigmentation and boosts collagen production to improve the appearance of atrophic acne scars.
- Vitamin C – Stabilizes excess melanin production to fade hyperpigmentation and UV spots.
- Niacinamide – Repairs the skin barrier’s function and reduces the appearance of red acne scars.
- Glycolic Acid – Helps hyperpigmented cells to shed from the skin’s surface, which can reduce the appearance of discoloration.
- Alpha Arbutin – Inhibits melanin production and brightens stubborn dark spots without causing irritation.